County, city leaders call for TBI involvement in all police shooting cases

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Shelby County Commissioner and Memphis City Council member will sponsor a joint resolution requesting state investigators handle all officer-involved shootings, not just fatalities.

The resolution by Commissioner Tami Sawyer and Councilman Edmund Ford Jr. comes in the wake of Monday night's shooting of a man by Memphis Police officers. Martavious Banks was listed in critical condition, but did not die in the shooting.

When Banks was shot, it thrust the city into the national spotlight when it comes to a string of controversial police shootings.

When police announced the officers involved in the shooting did not have on their police car or body cameras, it echoed for some that there may be something officers were trying to hide.

Now, city leaders who are hearing those cries are speaking out.

"If there was a deliberate act to cover up what was taking place by turning off the function on that camera, I think that is a very troubling outcome. And I think there needs to be swift action whenever that happens like that," City Council member Martavius Jones said.

MPD was handling its own investigation of the shooting until Tuesday afternoon, when the district attorney requested Tennessee Bureau of Investigation become involved after she received new information in the case. Local agencies may use their discretion on calling TBI in non-fatal shootings.

"The 24 hour delay in requesting TBIs involvement in this case has brought community outcry and concern," Sawyer said in a statement.

The city resolution is in support of a state-level resolution drafted by state Rep. G.A. Hardaway and state Sen. Brian Kelsey, requesting TBI immediately in the instance of injury or fatality in an officer-involved shooting.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland released a statement on the TBI's investigation into Monday's shooting of Martavious Banks, and the revalation that the officers involved had turned off their body and dashboard cameras during the incident.

"From what I understand, cameras were turned off prior to the shooting. Plainly said, that's disturbing. In my eyes, it is unacceptable and inexcusable — no question about it," Strickland said. "We're going to get to the bottom of this. While the TBI is investigating the shooting, our administrative investigation has already started. I've directed our team to conduct the investigation as quickly as possible."